Sunday, April 30, 2017

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them

The film Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them won the Oscar for costume design and was nominated for production design this year.This film is beautifully shot and meticulously staged. The fantasy story takes the beasts to NYC, so I enjoyed the setting. A good fantasy adventure film.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Tribeca Film Festival Day 5

With no Family Street Fair this year, my last day in Tribeca was devoid of festival activity. My early morning walk took me back to the Charging Bull and Defiant Girl, which was nice because I got there before the tourists. A walk through the 9/11 Memorial Park and back into Tribeca found me in a booth at Square Diner for my last meal in the hood. Though my cab ride back to Brooklyn was hampered by heavy traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge, it was good to have lunch with the kids at Fiorino in Brooklyn Bridge Park before collecting my car and heading home. Stopping for dinner at the Steak Loft in Mystic put a nice finish on another year at Tribeca Film Festival. Thanks to all friends and family who joined me and the characters I met along the way. See ya next year!

Friday, April 28, 2017

The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Season 3 Premire

Tribeca Film Festival offers a TV section as well as film, and they premiered several shows this year. With the discussion panel of Tina Fey, Robert Carlock, Ellie Kemper, Tituss Burgess, Carol Kane and Jane Krakowski, I chose the premiere of the 3rd Season  of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmitt to end my 2017 TFF experience. The first announcement at the event was that we were going to see the first two episodes of the season instead of one. Both were delightful and I'm looking forward to seeing the rest. When the panel took the stage it was cool to see these creative people in person. The audience was half my age and the questions were fan-based or looking for career advice. All of the folks on stage were funny and candid. This was a nice way to finish at Tribeca Film Festival.

Tribeca Film Festival Day 4

As expected, my hangover was a doozy. I had plans for lunch on the upper west side and I needed every minute to sleep off as much wine as I could, and make my self presentable to be out in public. I met Mary Catherine at a nice lunch spot called Spice. The food was good and the conversation interesting. I was starting to feel more like myself after lunch and realized that I was not far from the 72nd Street entrance to Central Park, so I walked to Bethesda Terrace. Buskers and street vendors were everywhere and the nice weather made for no lack of tourists. Back on the train, I rode all the way to South Street Seaport. I tried to have a beer at Fraunces Tavern but it seemed like half of NYC had the same idea. Thwarted, I went across the street to Rout 66 Roadhouse to have a beer. Back in Tribeca, I made my way to BMCC to see the season premiere of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmitt. While waiting in line I saw Carol Kane arrive and as I was walking into the theater I realized that I walking next to Daveed Diggs! After the premiere I grabbed wings, onion rings and coleslaw at Mudville 9 and went to bed early. Despite my poor decisions last night I had a great day.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Permission

When a couple doubts the validity of their feelings based on their lack of experience, they agree to broaden their experience. In the film Permission the intricacies and insecurity of relationships is explored. There is another couple we watch deal with other struggles and the two stories go hand in hand quite nicely. This film is well written, interestingly filmed with strong performances. It gives you a lot to think about. At the Q& A we earn that the director and one of the actors are married and that one member of each of the couples are as well. A good drama.

Tribeca Film Festival Day 3

This morning's walk took me to the Financial District. The Charging Bull and Defiant Girl have become quite a tourist attraction and were mobbed by tourists taking photo after photo. Quite a sight. I found the tranquility I was looking for at Trinity Church where I said hello to history and the 9/11 Memorial Park that was quiet as well. The art installation at Brookfield Place called "Roof" was not much to look at, but I got the concept. Roosevelt Park was full of joggers. A train ride north took me to Chelsea where I met Lucy at McManus Cafe for lunch. A landmark dive. The booths were green vinyl, the food was great and the service friendly. A few blocks away at Cineopolis we saw the film Permission.We both liked the film and the director and one of the actors conducted the Q&A. After we parted ways, I decided that I needed to spend some time in Tribeca so I went to what used to be one of my favorite bars in The Roxy Hotel. It was late afternoon and the maitre'd gave me one of those up and down looks that says he doesn't like the way you're dressed (jeans and cute top). I took a seat at the bar and the bartender proceeded to ignore me. It didn't take long for me to take my business elsewhere and I found a friendly stool at Edward's. A bowl of soup and a glass of wine tempered my mood. I noticed that Mike Birbiglia was in the line-up at the Comedy Cellar so I braved the rain and arrived a little before showtime. The stand-by line was down the block, so I decided just to go into the Olive Tree and have a drink. As I was leaving I almost walked into Colin Quinn who looked me right in the eye, smiled and said hello, so I left happy with my celebrity encounter. Back in Tribeca, I decided to have one last drink at Reade Street Pub. There was one seat at the bar so I took it and the guy next to me started to chat. The wine was flowing and when he asked me the same question 3 or 4 times I decided to leave. He had been trying to convince me that his "unconventional marriage" allowed him freedoms. The mistake he made was that he thought I was interested. The mistake I then made was going to The Patriot for "one more drink." There is a chandelier with bras hanging off it, there was a seat at the far end of the bar where a kind bartender named Patience was friendly and funny. Back at the hotel, I realized that tomorrow was going to be rough. A drunken night in Tribeca.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Sunset Boulevard on Broadway

Watching Glenn Close in a late night show interview, I knew that I wanted to see Sunset Boulevard on my next visit to NYC. That day arrived today when I found myself in the eighth row enjoying the performance of a lifetime. Close brings heart, light and drama to the character of Norma Desmond in this Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. Though the score is a bit cheesy, the performers are so earnest I did not mind. The staging was very interesting and dramatic. At the end the standing ovation was long and enthusiastic. Close returned to the stage many times, soaking in the applause. A woman behind me kept shouting "thank you" until she was hoarse. It was a fabulous show.

Tribeca Film Festival Day 2

I decided to take a day off from the film festival to give myself a day in NYC. I had obtained a ticket for Sunset Boulevard on Tuesday at TKTS in Brooklyn, so I knew what my afternoon would hold. I was up early enough to take a walk in lower Manhattan. 8 Spruce Street was the goal to get a close-up look at the Geary Building. I met my friend Cathy at Tiny's in Tribeca for lunch. Cute spot, good food. Cathy confessed that I had planted the idea of a Broadway matinee and she was joining me on the subway to see Groundhog Day. Work be damned. Sunset Boulevard was amazing. Glenn Close is amazing and the crowd went wild at the end. A very fun theater experience. With time to kill before dinner, I wandered a little looking for street vendors to buy souvenirs then realized that the rain had made them scarce. A glass of wine at BEA fit the bill before meeting Allison at 44 SW in Hell's Kitchen. A hearty Italian meal and lovely conversation made the gray day much sunnier. Taking the train back to Tribeca, I was happy to have had a day with live theater and good company.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Paris Can Wait

After running through the pouring rain, I was grateful to see that they were seating the film Paris Can Wait at the BMCC theater instead of making people wait outside. Awaiting us were ushers with boxes of snacks to take to our seats. I knew there would be a food tasting but wasn't' sure how they would manage the logistics. This was perfect. After saying hello to my favorite house manager, Charles, We settled in to enjoy this charming road-trip film. Early in the film I decided that Diane Lane has the most expressive eyebrows on film. The story is charming, the characters interesting. There is a lot of food and wine in the film, so the second round of snacks they passed out before the Q & A was welcome. Eleanor Coppola crafted a film I would be happy to see again. Well done.

Tribeca Film Festival 2017 Day 1

Starting out in Brooklyn this morning, I have lunch with Liza and Mason at Westville in DUMBO. I collect my stuff and get in a cab to the Cosmopolitan in Tribeca. After I unpack, I meet Randi at Max for dinner. It's a stormy night so we take a quick walk to BMCC for a screening of Paris Can Wait. Snacks were served before and after the film. Eleanor Coppola, Diane Lane and Arnaud Viard gave an interesting Q & A. I made sure to say hello to my favorite house manager, Charles. He's worked for the festival for 16 years and I always enjoy chatting with him. When Randi and I part ways, I stop in to Reade Street Pub for a nightcap. A very inebriated guy hits on me. He is uninsultably drunk and disappears as quickly as he appears. Funny end to the evening. Great start to my little vacation.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Live for Night

The grim film Live by Night was a disappointment. What tries to be a crime film of threatening gangsters, comes off as a bunch of mumbling bumblers. The love story is OK, but the ending is so sad. A sloppy film I did not care for.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Miss Sloane

I was expecting a strong drama in the film Miss Sloane, but I was not expecting an intense, emotional thriller. The look at lobbyists, and what it takes to pass a bill is both interesting and terrifying. The bill at hand is about gun control. Emotions are hit hard in the negotiation of the bill. There are dramatic twists and turns, the performances are outstanding. I liked this film a lot.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Founder

As in many films based on true events, The Founder is a bit heartbreaking. The story of Ray Kroc discovering the McDonald brothers' system for fast food, and turning it into an empire starts out as a rags-to-riches story. In the process, we watch a man take advantage of kind people in the interest of the almighty dollar. Not much of an interest in their philosophy or goals, just how do I make a buck. Kind of a sad story. Good film though.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Girlfriend's Day

A man with excellent greeting card writing skills is challenged to save his job and relationships in Girlfriend's Day. An endearing sad-sack struggles with relationships. Sometimes he succeeds, sometimes he fails. Bob Odenkirk is excellent. I liked this film.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Bad Santa 2

I remember thinking Bad Santa was funny. Bad Santa 2...not so much. This is a poorly written, raunchy, vulgar and pointless heist film that was not funny and had no redeeming qualities at all. A talented cast was wasted on this awful film. Such a disappointment.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Collateral Beauty

Grief and coping are the focus in Collateral Beauty. When a man loses his young child to cancer he writes letters of desperation to Death, Time and Love. In an effort to get the man back to reality his friends employ actors to confront him as the receivers of the letters. Or so we think....who was helping who in this tale? This film challenges the heart and the mind. I liked it a lot. "Nothing's ever really dead if you look at it right."
"Be sure you notice the collateral beauty."

Sunday, April 09, 2017

The Discovery

Filmed in RI, The Discovery is an interesting exploration of death and the afterlife. A mixture of drama and sci-fi, a scientist has scientific proof of the afterlife. There are a lot of philosophical questions. The structure of the film is intriguing and the cast does a good job. I liked this film a lot.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Paterson

A man with a simple life and deep thoughts comes to us in Paterson. His dreams are internal, while his wife's dreams are external. The art design in the scenes with her are stunning.The scenes when his dreams emerge are also stunning, but it is more cerebral than visual. This movie has a lot to say with nice touches of subtle humor. Worth a look.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

The Book of Love

I like a well written, well cast film. The Book of Love is exactly that. There is loss, and each character copes with their loss in different ways. They ultimately help each other. There is a rich underlying thread that I won't spoil here, but it ties everyone together nicely. I really liked this film.